Inclusive Higher Education (MN Inclusive Higher Education Consortium)
Colleges and universities across the country are establishing post-secondary education options for students with intellectual disabilities (ID). While Minnesota has three colleges with the comprehensive transition and postsecondary (CTP) designation from the US Department of Education that are offering enrollment for students with intellectual disabilities, there is limited capacity and access across Minnesota. Inclusive higher education addresses the lack of equity and accessibility of higher education for people with ID in Minnesota—it expands enrollment options in MN and opens the door for federal financial aid for students who may not be able to attend college without financial support.
Hearing Aid Affordability (Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind, & Hard of Hearing)
For many Minnesotans who are deaf or hard of hearing, hearing aids are critical devices for access and communication. Unfortunately, hearing aids are not considered durable medical equipment (DMEs) and are not covered under many health insurance plans. Cochlear implants are covered at $80-120k for the surgery, but a $3k-6k pair of hearing aids (HAs) are not covered or affordable and have significant barriers to access due to cost. We will advocate for the best avenue that can help bring those costs down or make hearing aids more accessible for Minnesotans, whether through an insurance mandate, tax credit, or a voucher program.
Expanding & Improving Public Transit Options (Metro Mobility & Autonomous Vehicles Pilots)
Many Minnesotans with disabilities rely on public transit and paratransit option to get to work, run errands, and be part of their communities. We will support the Department of Transportation, Metro Transit, and Metro Mobility to improve transit options in Minnesota for Minnesotans with disabilities. We will also support the innovative pilot programs such as autonomous vehicles in Greater Minnesota which seek expand public transit options far beyond the Twin Cities Metro area.
Accessible State Parks (MN Dept. of Natural Resources)
Minnesota is known for its beautiful and breathtaking state parks, however for Minnesotans with disabilities, many state parks are inaccessible. We will work with the Department of Natural Resources to improve access to state parks through various innovative programs such as the All-Terrain Track Chair rentals and upgrading trails and paths to be more accessible.
Study on Disabled-Own Businesses (Department of Administration)
Our state policies allow for disabled-owned businesses to get additional preference as a vendor for the state in contracting or proposals. However, the kinds of disabilities that qualify is very narrow and focus only on physical disabilities. This program requires an economic study to prove the economic inequities for all preference programs (BIPOC-owned, women-owned, and disabled-owned). We support the Department of Administration’s proposal to do a new study that expands the kinds of disabilities they study which would allow the state to expand the kinds of disabilities that benefit from this program and increase economic opportunity for disability-owned businesses.
SmART Proposal (Department of Administration)
The Department of Administration’s Small Agency Resource Team (SmART) supports several of our agency’s operations, including human resources, financial reporting, and more. Because of our close relationship with SmART, supporting their efforts benefits our agencies and other disability agencies we collaborate with, such as the Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (also a SmART client). SmART has two similar proposals that we support:
- A study to review small agency needs, gaps in services, and what capacity levels are needed to meet their needs, in addition to reviewing other state’s small agency support approaches. This study would result in future legislative recommendations based on the findings of the study.
- Funding to increase the staffing and capacity of SmART to support their growing number of client agencies to ensure MCD (and others) get timely, effective, and supportive services from our main agency that we depend on for internal controls, logistics, and operations.
Health Equity and Data Collection Proposal (MN Department of Health)
The Department of Health proposal is to increase data collection and reporting on the disability populations in Minnesota, the health outcomes for these populations, and a focus on disability as a part of Health Equity throughout the whole agency. We are consulting with MDH to guide their efforts, provide technical assistance, and ensure their proposal meets our advocacy needs. This proposal is primarily financial to fund positions to do this work. We would advocate to add statutory language to require this work to occur so that the funds cannot be used elsewhere and future leadership must continue this work.
MNCCD 2023 Public Policy Agenda (MN Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities)
The Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is a non-governmental advocacy organization representing dozens of disability organizations in Minnesota. Each legislative session, their board, which MCD is represented on, decides on a legislative agenda based on submissions from its member organizations. MCD supports the policies of MNCCD’s legislative agenda that align with MCD’s values and mission.
Other Disability-Related Bills
MCD will support any disability-related bills of high importance introduced in the 2023 Legislative Session.